Concerned over the growing menace of plastic waste, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has urged the public to segregate solid waste at source to facilitate plastic waste management by the Corporation and the municipalities.
District Environment Engineer of the board K. Kamaraj told The Hindu on Tuesday that to implement the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules and Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules effectively, the public should segregate solid waste at source, before disposal; avoid use of plastic carry bags of less than 40 micron thickness; avoid use of recycled plastic carry bags for storing, carrying or packing food, and use biodegradable and recyclable items.
The Corporation and municipalities should collect plastic waste separately, establish plastic waste collection centres jointly with plastic goods manufacturers, fix the minimum price for plastic bags of more than 40 micron thickness and ensure proper labelling in all plastic products.
Mr. Kamaraj said the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules were amended in June this year. Accordingly, plastic bags of less than 40 micron thickness were banned now and plastic bags should not be distributed free of cost at retail outlets. The local body should fix the minimum price for the bags. The local body should also carry out an estimate of the quantity of plastic waste generated at each ward and set up the collection centres at the earliest.
Of the seven to 10 per cent plastic waste in municipal solid waste, 80 per cent was recyclable plastic waste. The Board had already conducted a study and commissioned the co-incineration of non-recyclable plastic waste in cement kilns at ACC Cements. The Corporation should enter into an agreement with the company for this.
“Public awareness and co-operation is a must for better plastic waste management. The Board plans to conduct a mass awareness programme in a month and organise taluk-level awareness meetings to improve public awareness on segregation of plastic waste at source,” he said.